by Walter Fox
Martha Moffett “Marty” Smith, 90, owner of a greeting card and gift shop in Chestnut Hill for 53 years, died Sept. 21 from complications of a stroke at her home on Ardleigh Street where she had been born in in 1924.
Mrs. Smith closed her shop, Martha M. Smith Gifts at 184 E. Evergreen Ave., in April of last year, citing the rising costs of running a small business in an unstable economy and a younger generation that sends fewer greeting cards. But the final straw, she said, was the appearance of Philadelphia Parking Authority kiosks in the parking lot adjacent to her shop.
Before moving to Evergreen Avenue in 1987, Mrs. Smith had conducted her business from a shop at 8510 Germantown Ave. where she had worked for another owner. She purchased the shop in 1960.
For more than five decades, Mrs. Smith’s shop was a gathering place for customers who were also her friends, who came to the shop because the owner made them feel welcome and appreciated. Many were second-generation customers.
Mrs. Smith began working on Germantown Avenue at 16 at Kilian’s hardware store.
Born and raised in Chestnut Hill, she attended J.S. Jenks Elementary School and graduated from Germantown High School in 1942, the year she married Russell Smith, who died in 2005. She worked part-time at her shop – then staffed by five people – while raising two children, and worked full-time when the children were grown.
She is survived by a son, Jonathan, of Chalfont; a daughter, Gail Coyne, of Chestnut Hill, and a sister, Marie Moffett Weir, of Schwenksville.
A memorial service will be held at 4 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 12, at Chestnut Hill Presbyterian Church.